How to disinfect your bath tub

Christmas is drawing near, and we decided to make bath truffles for Christmas presents for friends, colleagues and families. Then came the question – “Are you sure everyone has a functioning bath tub?”

And this prompted me to share a little tip of how to disinfect bath tubs. Please share this little tip with your friends. The more people knows this, the less chance they will get infected with some random disease.

When I moved into my new house, I faced a daunting task of disinfecting my bath tub. I figured that pure elbow grease only gets rid of the grime, but it might not do much for killing all lingering bacterial. Furthermore, imagining what the previous owners did in the bath tub leaves a “eeeewwwww” feeling in my mind. I was thinking of how to disinfect the tub in the most efficient way, and then, a Eureka moment strikes – using shock chlorination method!

Here are the steps and a short explanation on why it works:


Step 1: Turn on bathroom exhaust fan and open all bathroom windows. Get pets, children and non-essential adults out of the way.

Step 2: Fill bath tub with hottest water you can get . If you decide to fill it with boiling water, all the more power to you. Water level wise, fill it as high as you can go without overflowing.

Step 3: For a previously occupied house, I don’t take chances. I simply pour in at least half of my existing bleach solution, a good 15-24 oz of it and mix that into the water using gloves or a long painting stick (true story!).  This is known as shock chlorination. Note:  because of the high chlorine content, it is going to emit a bunch of fumes. Unless you like to get high on it, my advice is to close the doors, make sure the exhaust is on, windows are open, and keep children, pets and unsuspecting grown-ups out of the way. It also goes without saying that you need to plan a good time for this, a good example would be when everyone is done with using the bathroom for that day.

Step 4: Pour yourself some wine and sip it while waiting for at least 30 mins (I read that 10 mins is more than enough for swimming pool disinfection, but you never know what the previous owners did in that tub… Engineers can be paranoid, and I personally feel that in this case, paranoia might be a good thing.)

Step 5: Drain the bath tub. This will also disinfect the drainage systems. Make sure windows are opened to allow some of the fumes to dissipate.

Step 6: Once fumes are dissipated, rinse tub thoroughly with warm water.

Ta-dah! Sparkling clean, disinfected bath tub.


When bleach meets water, a chemical reaction takes place:

Cl2 + H2O –> HOCl + HCl

In other words:

Bleach + Water –> Hypochrorous acid + Hydrochloric acid.

HOCl (hypochrorous acid) happens to be neutrally charged. Because it is neutral and has no charges, it remains unaffected by the negative charge of any bacterial cell membrane. This trait allows it to penetrate any negatively charged microbes cell walls and effectively interfering with a bacterial cell protein structure. Think of that protein structure as the brain and heart of the poor bacterial.

Once the hypochrorous acid manages to pass through a cell membrane, it will begin to attack and start oxidizing the protein structure.Sooner or later, muahahhahaha, the poor bacterial will die a very horrible death.

CAVEAT: This method kills most germs and bacterial, but there may be some strains of viruses/bacterial that are rebels, and refuse to yield to chlorine.

Because of this, I do an additional step:

Step 7: Boil a LOT of water. The slowly pour along the sides of the tub. Repeat for as many times as you like. I decided to give up at two repetitions and take the chance. Of course, you may combine Step 7 with Step 2. But be careful. Do not burn yourself.

So there you have it, the quick and easy way to disinfect a bath tub, and the reason why it works.

Please share this with your friends so that more people can disinfect their bath tub before using it. And who knows, this little trick might save their life.


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